Byron Bay Bluesfest scraps rescheduled October event, announces 2022 festival dates
Byron Bay Bluesfest has confirmed that it will not go ahead in 2021, rescheduling its October event to the 2022 Easter long weekend.
The announcement arrives just two weeks after festival director Peter Noble hinted at the likelihood of the event being cancelled, citing that organisers were “not confident” about the festival going ahead amid the worsening COVID-19 situation in New South Wales.
In a statement shared today, Noble confirmed the festival’s postponement and revealed that the event would return to its usual Easter timeframe
“It is obvious that we cannot present Bluesfest in a safe manner in October, so we have re-scheduled back to our usual timing with dates over the Easter Long Weekend next year; a time we expect things to be returning to normal,” Noble said.
Describing the decision to cancel as “a no-brainer”, the festival director also expressed his hopes for a strong percentage of Australians to be vaccinated by next April, and even hinted at the possibility of international artists returning to the festival’s lineup.
“Now we concentrate on the future, and it’s a bright future – and the return of Bluesfest over four days next Easter: Friday April 15 – Monday April 18 2022, plus we are working on something special for Thursday April 14,” Noble said.
“I am confident that, by the end of this year, Australia will have achieved at least a 70-80% vaccination rate and will have achieved at least ‘Stage Three’ in the plan to open up the whole country.
“Lockdowns will be consigned to history. Perhaps we may even see international artists returning. If they can come we will be presenting them.”
Noble also urged ticketholders to retain their passes and roll them over to Bluesfest 2022 if financially viable, noting that the festival would continue to expand its lineup once NSW exited lockdown.
“As soon as this outbreak is over and we are out of lockdown safely, then I will be announcing the incredible new names joining our lineup, and then you can make an informed decision,” he said.
“Rest assured, we will continue to offer refunds until after the new artist announcement.”
To accompany the new festival dates, Bluesfest has also added a swathe of new acts to its lineup, including Fat Freddy’s Drop, John Williamson, C.W. Stoneking, Josh Teskey & Ash Grunwald and the return of its RocKwiz Live! event.
However, Tash Sultana, The Cat Empire, Ocean Alley and Ziggy Alberts, who were each slated to appear at the original 2021 festival, are no longer listed on the rescheduled Bluesfest lineup for 2022.
Earlier this month, Bluesfest released a report revealing the economic impact of the festival’s last-minute cancellation in April, with NSW Health’s executive order to cancel the event resulting in a national loss of $181 million.